What comes to your mind, when you hear the word, GOA? If nothing pops up, you need a vacation. For me it’s the sea, the beach, the shacks, beer in the morning, king-fish, xacutis, pork vindaloo, shells, shorts, bikini… And its endless!
My affair with Goa started five years back. And post seven trips to the beach-paradise, I realized I still love Goa and my love just intensifies, after each visit. Though, I am a little biased towards the southern part of the state, I can’t do without a night of crazy club-hopping and a walk by Tito’s. Baga is where the crowd is but the heart craves for a little dosage of Palolem. Vagator, Arambol, Morjim, Patnem, Agonda and Anjuna closely follow. It’s just so difficult to pick one favorite! But for me, Palolem will always be the best of all.
My first trip was amidst a lot of drama. Two weeks to my wedding, me and a group of equally crazy friends, hired an Innova and rushed to Goa, to celebrate my bachelorette party. I had to lie to the entire world and my family knew that I was attending a wedding in Vizag! They came to know eventually. We stayed in a duplex which was kind of a home-stay, near Calangute. Till date, I try to find that place without results and I blame my screwed-up direction sense for this.But I am sure I will re-discover the place If not for pics, I would have thought that this place existed only in my dreams. The second trip was a romantic getaway with my husband. Post that, it’s always been a group of friends. We are planning another road-trip to Goa, soon! #excited!
So what do I do in Goa, you ask? Well, it is a mix of both. The first night in Goa, we party like there’s no tomorrow. Club hopping, shots, dancing, drinking and more dancing. Tito’s lane in Baga is one of the most happening places in North Goa. The next day we try to see the popular tourist-y spots like the famous churches and the Chapora and Aguada fort. Then some beach-hopping, the Saturday flea market at Anjuna. If you are a guy and you think shopping is boring, just go to this place. I remember having major girl-crush on so many exceptionally beautiful women at this market! So, just go! The second night, we spend by the sea and eat anything and everything which is caught in the sea and try out different versions of the local cuisine and local drink. The rest of the tour, we spend in the Southern part of the state. Palolem and Patnem are beautiful beaches and you can just relax on the beach. Here are some things you must try out when you are in Goa.
Water Sports : Calangute and Baga boast of an array of water sports! Para-sailing and the banana chute ride is crazy, but only if you are doing it for the first time.
Anjuna Flea Market : As already mentioned, the flea market near Anjuna beach is there only on Saturdays. So if you plan to stay back in North, on a Saturday, head to this place.
Tito’s Lane : Tito’s is one of the oldest clubs in Goa. Although, there are much better clubs in Goa now, this lane is still insanely crazy. The clubs compete with each other with their music and it is fun to watch people dance on the road, til 4 A.M. I think every city should have a lane like this.
Shacks : Lobos/Mambos/Brittos are the well know ones. There are many, many of them and I have never had any complaints about the food. One thing to be aware of, while in Goa is, the service is quite slow when you compare it with normal restaurants. But, that’s because of the laid back attitude. SO just chill, have beer and wait for the food. You won’t regret. You should be eating king-fish, lobster and calamaris!
Fat Fish/Viva Panjim : For local Goan cuisine, be sure to eat at Viva Panjim. The owner is a beautiful lady who welcomes you personally and the food is amazing! Amazing! The pork roast is something which will definitely give you sleepless nights! Major craving starts now!
Thalassa : Vagator is a rocky beach and it is one of the most beautiful beaches, to watch the sunset at. Thalassa is a beautiful restaurant whose USP is it’s location and the view. The greek themed cafe instantly reminds you of Bollywood songs like ‘Khuda Jaane’ and ‘Meherbaan Hua’. True to it’s genre, the interiors are done in blue and white. You have to go to Thalassa when the sun sets. It’s a beautiful feeling to watch. We were quite full when we went, so we decided to skip the main-course. The starters tasted good. Thalassa is an experience you just can’t miss. And it’s just not about the food.
LPK/Club Cabana : For a crazy, crazy night, you need to head to either of these clubs. Both the clubs are huge and play very good music. I think, my best clubbing memories are of the night at LPK aka Love Passion Karma. Both are in the northern part of Goa and quite close to Baga. Both of them are easy on the pocket. SinQ is another club near Candolim, which is quite posh and is frequented by a lot of movie stars, albeit expensive.
Butterfly Island and Dolphin spotting : A lazy morning in South Goa(Canacona) starts with a boat ride to the middle of the ocean, some dolphin spotting and a few islands. Honeymoon Island and Butterfly island are two of them. It’s quite relaxing and you can swim around a little, near the peaceful islands. Also, at the North end of Palolem beach, the river joins the sea and you can even cross the river by walking, during low tide. You can just lie on the river bed or swim around as it’s quite shallow. A walk across would lead you to Monkey Island. On the opposite side, you can walk and cross the hills to reach Patnem. No wonder, Palolem is my favorite!
Silent Party : A walk towards the South of Palolem will lead you straight to the Silent Party, which happens every Saturday. It’s a unique concept, where you are handed earphones and you can choose your favorite channel. There are three DJ’s who play music live, and you can keep switching between these three stations. It’s crazy and it’s super cool!
The Churches : To feel the old Goan charm, you need to visit the churches. The famous ones are Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception(Sailaru Sailare church) and the Se Cathedral. All the churches date back to the Portuguese era and are beautiful. It’s a significant part of Goa’s culture and reminiscent of the state’s history.
Must See Beaches : Morjim, Galjibaga, Ashvem in the North and Patnem and Agonda in the South are the less famous yet very very picturesque beaches. They aren’t as crowded or commercialized as Baga and Calangute and that makes them peaceful and clean. Try to arrange a stay in the beach huts. They have a beautiful view and you get to live on the beach, well almost! Cuba Beach huts are an all-time favorite.
Forts : We are Bollywood-fanatics! So every first timer/second timer and so on.. end up going to the ‘Dil Chahta Hain’ fort! The title trach was shot at the Chapora fort. Ajay Devgan’s Singham made Aguada famous. The upcoming movie starring SRK and Alia Bhatt has been extensively shot on the Mandovi river.
Apart from these options, there are a hundred other things to do in Goa. Like cruising along the river Mandovi, a visit to Deltin Royale Casino, paragliding or spending the day at any of the numerous water parks. Goa has a natural rhythm to which you end up dancing to, endlessly…happily..tirelessly! Goa can never lose it’s charm.. at least for me.